Hitchhiking Home for Christmas: Istanbul to the Netherlands in 48 hours?

This is my attempt at hitchhiking home for Christmas. I’m currently staying with friends in Istanbul, Turkey. From here, I’ll need to go to my mom’s place in the Netherlands before December 24th (I think? When is Christmas?). I’m going to try to hitchhike first to Maastricht in the Netherlands. That’s where I started studying and then dropped out in November 2013. It feels a little weird that my hitchhiking adventure through Iran and Turkey, and Georgia and Armenia before that, is ending.

Somehow, I can’t really do anything without making it a bit of a challenge. So I’ll try to hitchhike the 2562 kilometers through Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands in just 48 hours. For comparison: Google Maps says this route would take you 25 hours to drive, non-stop. I’ll try non-stop otostop, forgo sleep, and try to set some kind of personal record.

Why am I taking the Slovenian route instead of the Hungarian route? Or the one through Slovakia and Czechia too? Because I did this before in the other direction about six months ago and it worked well. For hitchhiking home for Christmas, the stakes are a bit too high to experiment with different routes that I haven’t (yet) had success with. Nonetheless, Google Maps insists that going through Hungary and then Austria is better. I can’t even embed the route that I like in one of these maps:

I’m personally not attached to Christmas, but it means a lot to my grandparents back in the Old Country. Even though I have just four days to do it, I’m confident I’ll be on time for the event. Hitchhiking in Europe is still really awesome, whether it’s winter or summer or anything in between.

How do you like my pizza box sign, by the way? This is the first time I used cardboard from an actual (used) pizza box to make a sign. Hence the weird shape of the cardboard; I tried to use the full width. Once I’ve left Turkey, I can flip bend the final letter away so that the sign says HOLLAND. In red below the destination, it says ‘hitchhiking’ in like five languages and then the anticipated route through all the countries.

#hitchinghomeforchristmas (at Taksim)

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2 thoughts on “Hitchhiking Home for Christmas: Istanbul to the Netherlands in 48 hours?

  1. Better late than never, here is my good old 2007 “Hitching home for Christmas” Chris Rea cover 😉

    Chris Rea
    Hitching home for Christmas

    I’m hitching home for christmas
    Oh, I can’t wait to see my parents
    I’m hitching home for christmas, yea
    Well I’m being offered a next ride
    And it’s been such a while
    But I will be there
    Small conversation mile after mile
    To pass the time away
    Being in your car
    Hitching home for christmas

    It’s gonna take some time
    But I’ll get there
    Top to toe in tailbacks
    Took an hour to get on the run
    Now we’re covering the way
    To get our feet on holy ground

    So I thumb for you
    And if you are going to take me
    I’ll make it all the way through
    And improve the drivers karma
    I am hitching home for christmas
    Hitching home for christmas
    With a thousand stories

    I grip a glance of the friendly driver
    He’s just the same
    Just the same

    Top to toe in tailbacks
    Took an hour to get on the run
    Now we’re covering the way
    Get my feet on holy ground
    So I thumb for you
    And if you are going to take me
    We’ll make it all the way through
    To improve our karma
    Hitching in your car
    Hitching home for christmas
    Hitching home for christmas
    With a thousand drivers

    • Didn’t know that besides a hitchhiker and a statistician, you’re also a poet! 😀 Please tell me there’s a music video of this..

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